The most popular boys’ names of the 1940s were John, Peter, Robert, and David, but what were the least popular names? Here are ten names which were only chosen once in any year between 1944 and 1949 in South Australia, making them unique names for their time and place. Still rare, some feel surprisingly contemporary, while one or two have perhaps had their day.
Category: Meanings of Baby Names
I followed with interest an online name discussion a while back in which the parents had loved the name Zora for years, and when they were finally expecting a girl and planning to use Zora, they were made aware of the Spanish word zorra, which can translate as “fox” but is used as an unsavory term for a girl. “Is this name now unusable?” they fretted, and while the opinions of the commenters were mixed, the parents ultimately decided not to use Zora, despite the awesome reference to Zora Neale Hurston, which had been part of why they loved the name.
Maia / Maya – The month of May was named after Maia, a Greek and Roman goddess of spring; Maia is a Greek name meaning mother. The Roman’s considered Maia to be an incarnation of Mother Earth. Maia and Maya have the same sound, but differ in popularity and meaning. Maia was #639 in 2013 and Maya, a Hebrew name meaning water, was #72. Both Maia and Maya are great names for a baby born in May.
One of the very first readers of my blog emailed me to ask about the connection between the names Eleanor and Helen. She and her husband had a darling baby daughter, already named Eleanor, a name they loved, which they had happily bestowed in honor of St. Helen. (You might see where I’m going with this.)
It wasn’t until months after Baby Eleanor was born that the mom discovered that Eleanor is not actually a form of Helen, but she wrote to me in a last-gasp attempt to find some loophole somewhere that allowed Eleanor and Helen to be related.
In Romeo & Juliet, Juliet faces a dilemma– she has fallen in love with the son of her father’s sworn enemy: a Montague. Juliet famously asks: “What’s in a name?” She concludes that names are irrelevant and uses the garden rose to illustrate her point “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”